Measure your mine tailings beach lift thicknesses, slopes and profiles from space

mine tailings beach profile

By Gerry Mitchell, P.Geo, President PhotoSat

mine tailings beach profile

Satellite photo of a mine tailings beach

Mine tailing beach designs have optimum slopes.

Every mine site tailings storage facility (TSF) design includes optimum slopes for the tailings beaches. Tailings beaches that are either steeper or flatter than the designed slopes can have serious short-term and long-term consequences for the capacity and cost of the TSF.  Tailings engineers control the beach slopes by modifying the composition of solids and fluids discharged into the TSF in each lift.

Detailed information on tailings beach slope design and the consequences of different beach slopes can be found on the Tailings.info website.

Elevation image of a mine tailings beach with 50cm elevation contours on the tailings beach surface.

Elevation image of a mine tailings beach with 50cm elevation contours on the tailings beach surface.

Semi consolidated tailings beaches cannot be accessed by conventional surveying.

Measuring and monitoring the tailings beach slopes are challenging.  Since the tailings beaches are semi consolidated, they cannot be safely accessed by conventional surveying methods. 

 

 

Suncor review of tailings storage facility surveying methods found PhotoSat most cost effective.

In 2014 Paul Lomond, lead surveyor for the Suncor Steepbank and Millennium oil sands mines, published a review of a pilot project assessing various methods of surveying tailings storage areas.  This review is available on the Suncor tailings surveying page.  Suncor concluded that PhotoSat surveying is the most cost effective method for surveying their tailings beaches.

 

Incremental tailings thickness (isopach) surveys

In order to control the tailings beach slopes, mine site tailings engineers need to be able to determine the actual distribution of tailings on the tailings beaches.  Images showing the increase in elevation of the beach surface between two dates show the tailings engineers the actual distribution of the tailings over the time period. 

Increase in mine tailings beach height over a three month period.  25cm contours of tailings thickness.

Increase in mine tailings beach height over a three month period. 25cm contours of tailings thickness.

Mine tailings beach profiles from PhotoSat surveys

Mine tailings beach profiles from PhotoSat surveys

If you would like more information on PhotoSat surveying, you can visit the following links:

Mining

Mine site volume reconciliations

Mine Leach Pad & Ore Stockpile Volumes

Mine Tailings Surveying

Mine Site Toes & Crests

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*